Home Authors Posts by Staff



Canadian Movie News –

Tomorrow on CBC`s Doc Zone
By staff

;The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life;
Images courtesy of John Collins, Bountiful Films. Used with Permission

(March 27, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia) We’ve all seen them. Or heard them. Maybe in a shopping mall, playground or on a crowded bus or airplane… young kids frustrated at anything from a wet diaper to being denied some treat to being told it`s time to go home. We’ve seen the parents too. Embarrassed, sometimes just as angry and sometimes over the top in their response to the sudden, uncontrollable outburst of anger from such a tiny human being. Well… that`s nothing compared to how Angry Kids and Stressed Out Parents begins.

This new documentary from Vancouver-based filmmakers Helen Slinger and Maureen Palmer`s Bountiful Films premiers on CBC Television’s Doc Zone tonight, Thursday, March 27 at 9:00 pm (9:30 pm NT). It opens on a startling scene of maternal anguish, but this is no ordinary mother. Twenty-five years ago this December, Monique Lépine’s son Marc murdered 14 young women at Montreal`s École Polytechnique. Today his mother makes the link between her son`s crimes and his abused and neglected upbringing.

In the quarter century since Lépine’s murderous rampage, there’s been a sea change in our understanding of a young child’s developing brain. With what we know today, it’s probable that many criminals could be stopped in their tracks – before they graduate grade one. And keeping just one person from a lifetime in prison saves tax-payers $3.5 million – $5 million if there’s an addiction involved. And crime costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Troubled kids cost us billions in health, education and social services every year as well as immeasurable pain and suffering.

More importantaly, we can fix this problem for a fraction of the cost of what we’re paying in largely failed attempts to fix it later. We already know how. Researchers have tracked the progress of kids enrolled in pioneering high-quality early childhood intervention programs. Four decades later, the kids who got help are much more successful and lead healthier lives as adults than those who did not.

Angry Kids & Stressed Out Parents follows children and parents enrolled in three groundbreaking interventions. These programs work with parents and kids to help children master the skills they need to do well in life, like self-control and self-regulation. From middle-class kids to children of poverty, we witness young lives transformed, social problems solved, and billions of taxpayer dollars saved.

And today there’s fresh urgency to invest in solutions since, for the first time in North American history, more children suffer from mental health conditions than from physical ones. Parents are coping with staggering levels of anger, aggression, and other behavioural problems. Experts in child development believe the problem is going to get worse, not better, because too many parents are too busy, too stressed, or too poor to invest in the most important time in a child’s life: the first six years.

The interventions:

Triple P – The Positive Parenting Program is available to all Canadian families. For this production, three families allowed the filmmakers to follow them through the multi-week Triple P program as they mastered tools to teach their kids self-control. 3-year-old Jilliane pitches frequent and uncontrollable temper tantrums. 3-year-old Jackson hits and kicks his mother when she asks him to do a simple task. And 5 year-old Luke’s back talk and acting out has pushed his mom to her limits. By the end of the documentary, the changes in each child’s ;Angry Kids documentary;behaviour are astonishing. The skills learned in Triple P prevent the development of the worst behaviour problem: conduct disorder. Preventing just one case of conduct disorder through early intervention results in a lifetime savings of $280,000.00.

The PAX Good Behaviour Game is a deceptively simple – and cheap – program available to children in Manitoba elementary schools, as part of the regular curriculum. It makes learning self-control a game that children love to play and the results are astounding: PAX is proven to affect rates of high school graduation, adult criminality, suicide.

The Abecedarian Program is operating for the first time in Canada in Lord Selkirk Park, a poor, predominantly First Nations neighbourhood in Winnipeg. Developed in the 1970s to change the future for primarily black, very poor children in North Carolina, the program is built on intense one-on-one learning, imbedding language skills into everything. By age 30, the original North Carolina Abecedarian children were four times more likely to be university graduates, 50 per cent more likely to be employed full time, and 84 per cent less likely to receive social assistance. With Canada’s First Nations population rapidly expanding, these are vital statistics.

Across the community, every dollar spent on early childhood intervention saves as many as $17 down the road. Yet it’s always problematic for governments, seeking re-election, to spend now in order to save later. But there’s another statistic worth keeping top of mind for governments and voters – children who go to juvenile detention are close to 40 times more likely to become adult criminals. By the time a child lands in juvie it’s often too late. But a decade earlier, we can make a huge difference. We now have the power to stop many future criminals – in kindergarten.

Angry Kids & Stressed Out Parents, subtitled How to Stop Crime, Save Billions, & Raise Happier, Healthier Children premieres on CBC Television`s Doc Zone (click to see a trailer for the program) tonight, March 27 at 9 pm (9:30 pm NT). The documentary will be broadcast again on Saturday, March 29 at 11 pm ET (8 pm PT) on CBC News Network. Written and directed by Maureen Palmer and produced by Helen Slinger and Maureen Palmer, Angry Kids & Stressed Out Parents is narrated by Ann Marie McDonald. Produced by Bountiful Films in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and with the participation of the Canada Media Fund (CMF), Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. There is more about this program on the Bountiful Films website.

Canadian Movie News –

Cyril Drabinsky to get CSC`s Bill Hilson Award
By Staff

;Cyril Drabinsky to get CSC`s Bill Hilson Award;
(March 18, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) It is one of Canada`s major companies and a global leader in media and entertainment services across film, video and online original content, which makes the boss of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, President and CEO Cyril Drabinsky, one of the major players in the industry. Being Canada, recognition and honours often seem long in coming, so it is very fitting that the Canadian Society of Cinematographers will present Drabinsky with the coveted Bill Hilson Award on March 22.

The award, now in its 41st year, is named for Hilson because of his work creating film quality-control procedures at the CBC and is given for “outstanding service contributing to the development of the motion picture industry in Canada.”

“The switch from photochemical processing to file-based digital technologies was a seismic upheaval for our industry,” said Joan Hutton csc, president of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers. “Cyril Drabinsky was one of the first to see and seize this new technology’s potential to open new doors and vistas for filmmakers. Cyril altered the post-production process and our concepts of post-production forever. He is a visionary.”

Drabinsky, a Toronto native, said he will be delighted to accept the award. “Deluxe Entertainment is all about quality and standards, when it comes to serving the motion picture and television industries,” he said. “I couldn’t be more honored to accept this prestigious award on behalf of a great team serving the Canadian production community.”

The 57th annual CSC Awards Gala will be held at Toronto`s West Harbour Castle Hotel and is being hosted by Richard Crouse.

Canadian Movie News –

Micheline Lanctôt, actress,
Photo of Micheline Lanctôt & Ted Kotcheff © 2014 Maurie Alioff for Northernstars.ca.

Louis Cyr Sweeps Jutra Awards
By staff

;Louis Cyr cast & crew at the 2014 Jutra Awards © Maury Alioff;
All the photos used on this page are Copyright © 2014 by Maurie Alioff

(March 24, 2014 – Montréal, Québec) The 16th annual Soirée des Jutra was held last night and, perhaps overshadowed by the Québec election campaign, there was a certain “je ne sais quoi” in the air. A sense that something wasn’t quite right and that the celebration should be a little more buoyant, a little less hesitant. From a perspective beyond Québec`s substantial borders, it would seem that home-grown filmmakers can do no wrong. Inside those borders it was clear that all was not right with the world.

Perhaps Guillaume Cyr said it best when in his acceptance speech, picking up the first Jutra of the night for Best Support Actor in Louis Cyr: l’homme le plus fort du monde, he urged the viewing public to see the films in theatres. “It’s called Québécois cinema not Québécois DVD,” he said, reminding everyone in not so subtle a message that the true measure of the industry`s success is at the box office. He may have inadvertently reminded attendees that the heyday for local cinema has passed and how nice it would be if there could be a tangible turnaround in all their fortunes.

But even if mildly subdued, it was a night to celebrate and Louis Cyr: l’homme le plus fort du monde would give many reason to cheer and feel good about their work. Nominated in 11 categories, the biopic about the legendary Québec strongman ended up sweeping the night winning 9 of the 11 nominations including Best Picture and the ;Christian Larouche © 2014 Maurie Alioff;coveted billet d’or, or Golden Ticket, which is award to the film with the best box office take.

Antoine Bertrand won the Best Actor Jutra for his portrayal of Louis Cyr and Carmen Alie, who won a Canadian Screen Award added a Jutra for Best Costume also for Louis Cyr.

The producer of Louis Cyr, Christian Larouche, emphasized the need to make movies people want to see when he commented that the province’s filmmakers are making too many depressing movies. “If we tell stories that people want to see, people will come to the cinemas. Certain films are too dark.”

Here at Northernstars we think there might have been another contributing factor last year. Three of the province`s and Canada`s best filmmakers, Denis Villeneuve, Jean-Marc Vallée and Ken Scott were off making films elsewhere. Specifically, Villeneuve was busy with two films, Enemy, for which he received a Best Director nod at the recent Canadian Screen Awards and Prisoners; Vallée directed Dallas Buyers Club which produced a couple of Oscars® earlier this year and Ken Scott was south of the border with Delivery Man, a Hollywood remake of is hit film Starbuck.

It should also be noted, and it was pointed out in a statement from the federal Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official languages, that the industry, if viewed by numbers alone, seems to be healthy. In fact the Jutras received submissions of 173 short- and medium-length fiction films, 39 feature-length fiction films, 36 short- and medium-length animated films, and 29 feature-length documentaries.

Honoured at the Canadian Screen Awards with a Best Picture award, Gabrielle, a story about a developmentally challenged young woman who falls in love with a man in her choir, won five Jutras, including best direction and ;Lamctot & Kotcheff © 2014 Maurie Alioff;screenplay for Louise Archambault, best supporting actress for Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin and as the Québec film that enjoyed the best box office returns outside of the province. It didn’t do too shabby at home either, although its $1 million take a home was a far cry from Louis Cyr.

In keeping with so much of the atmosphere last night — that is looking back instead of forward — the highlight of the evening had to be the tribute to actress and director Micheline Lanctôt, which was capped by a surprise appearance by director Ted Kotcheff. Always remembered for his classic 1974 film The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, it was a thrill for the audience both at the soirée and watching on TV to see the two of them together again.

Speaking in French, Kotcheff stated that Lanctôt was an actress without equal.

A quick recap of some of the other awards handed out last night includes Pierrette Robitaille for her work in the film Vic + Flo ont vu un ours and Michel La Veaux who won Best Cinematography for his work on the Gabriel Arcand feature Le démantèlement. Click here for a complete list of Jutra winners.

Northernstars.ca congratulates all of the winners at the 2014 Jutra Awards.

Canadian Movie News –

The Lady in Number 6 to Have Toronto Premiere
By staff

;The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life;
(March 24, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) The 2014 Oscar® Winner for Best Documentary Short, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, will have its Toronto Premiere next month. The 38 minute film tells the incredible story of Alice Herz Sommer, who was the world`s oldest pianist and holocaust survivor. Alice shares her views on how to live a long and happy life. She discusses music, laughter and how to remain optimistic come what may. The film features beautiful photographs and rare film footage that truly bring Alice’s extraordinary story to life.

The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life was directed by British-born, Montreal resident, Malcolm Clarke. In fact, the entire production crew was made up of “Montréalais” including co-producer Nick Reed; Executive Producer, Frederic Bohbot; Co-screenwriter and Editor, Carl Freed; Composer, Luc St-Pierre and Director of Photography & Co-Producer, Kieran Crilly.

The documentary was shot in Alice Sommer’s Central London flat where she relentlessly played her grand piano well into her 110th year. Although she was reticent at first to play for the cameras, she overcame her shyness and her immense talent is showcased with “a little bit of Bach.” Her friends Anita Lasker Wallfisch and Zdenka Fantlova, a cellist and actress respectively, also joined the discussion on film as they looked back on their shared experiences. Sadly, Alice passed away exactly one week prior to the Oscars, on February 23rd. The Lady in Number 6 has been called “one of the most inspirational and uplifting stories of the year.” In the midst of the Second World War, Europe was plunged into years of bitter conflict and misery. During that time, Alice Sommer suffered experiences that no human being should have to endure. Along with her son Raphael, she was taken to the Theresienstadt concentration camp while her mother and husband were taken to Auschwitz and Dachau, never to be seen or heard from again. As a means to survive the terrors of the camp, Alice played over 100 concerts for her fellow inmates. Music preserved her mental sanity and her life. As she never tired of saying: “Music saved my life and music saves me still.”

Distributed in Canada by Bunbury Film The Lady in Number 6 will receive its Toronto Premiere on April 13, 2014 at the Al Green Theatre and the Miles Nadal JCC. Tickets are only $10 and are available for purchase on the day of the screening, Sunday, April 13, at the theatre. The short film will be screened four times–12:30pm, 2:30pm, 4:30pm, 6:30pm–and following each screening, the audience is invited to participate in a Q & A session with director Malcolm Clarke and Executive Producer Frederic Bohbot.

Canadian Movie News –

Special Presentations at 2014 Hot Docs
By staff

(March 4, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) Organizers of the Hot Docs festival have announced the titles of 14 documentary features that will be a part of this year’s Special Presentations program, a high-profile collection of world and international premieres, award-winners from the recent international festival circuit, and works by master filmmakers or featuring some star subjects. These films will screen as part of the 2014 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, running April 24 to May 4. The complete Special Presentations program and the full selection of films to screen at Hot Docs 2014 will be announced on March 18, including the 2014 opening night film.

“We are thrilled to be announcing some of this year`s Special Presentation films,” said Hot Docs director of programming, Charlotte Cook. “We are especially proud to be announcing four fantastic world premieres: THE DANGEROUS GAME is Anthony Baxter’s follow up to the acclaimed YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED, which sees him again as one man against the might of the Trump empire; CHILDREN 404 is an incredibly intimate and insightful look into what it means to be an LGBT youth in Russia; I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY is a beautiful portrait of the man who has given life to Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since their beginnings; and THE SHEIK shows what it’s like to be an Olympic wrestler and pop culture icon.”

Following, in alphabetical order, are the Special Presentation titles announced today:

CHILDREN 404 D: Askold Kurov, Pavel Loparev | Russia | 2014 | 70 min | World Premiere. An intimate firsthand account of how Russian’s LGBT youth have become defenseless after President Vladimir Putin passed a law forbidding “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.”

A DANGEROUS GAME D: Anthony Baxter | UK | 2014 | 90 min | World Premiere. In this explosive tale, everyday heroes battle against Donald Trump and a cast of greedy Goliaths who want to turn some of the earth’s most precious places into golf courses for the super-rich.

DEMONSTRATION D: Victor Kossakovsky, 32 film students VVAA | Russia , Spain | 2013 | 70 min | Canadian Premiere. Legendary director Victor Kossakovsky sends 32 film students to document Barcelona ’s massive and violent anti-austerity street protest in 2012. Set to an operatic score, his stunning collage transforms into a brilliant crowd-sourced street ballet.

EVERYDAY REBELLION D: Arash T. Riahi, Arman T. Riahi | Austria , Switzerland , Germany | 2013 | 118 min | Canadian Premiere. What do topless Ukrainian women, Syrian dissidents and Wall Street Occupiers have in common? A colourful new tactic—creative non-violent protest. See why and how modern pacifism is winning in this slick tribute to disobedience.
;I am Big Bird, movie poster;
THE GREAT INVISIBLE D: Margaret Brown | USA | 2014 | 92 min | Canadian Premiere. With unprecedented access, this comprehensive documentary utilizes an investigative eye and a humanizing touch to examine the causes and impacts of 2010’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico .

I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY D: Chad Walker, Dave LaMattina | USA | 2014 | 85 min | World Premiere. With an incredible archive of home videos, the story of Caroll Spinney reveals how a big heart and unstoppable talent created two of the world’s most beloved Muppets, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.

MISSION BLUE D: Robert Nixon, Fisher Stevens | USA | 2013 | 95 min | Canadian Premiere. The trailblazing career of internationally renowned oceanographer and eco-activist Sylvia Earle is celebrated in this beautifully shot testament to her passionate commitment to saving the world’s oceans and its imperiled inhabitants.

POINT AND SHOOT D: Marshall Curry | USA | 2014 | 82 min | International Premiere. Baltimore native Matthew VanDyke shares extraordinary visual tales of his adventures motorcycling across the Middle East —including when he joins forces with Libyan rebels to oust Muammar Gaddafi, is captured and held in solitary confinement for six months.

RETURN TO HOMS D: Talal Derki | Syria , Germany | 2013 | 87 min | Canadian Premiere. Filmed over the course of two years, Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize-winner Return to Homs takes us into the lives of two friends caught in the middle of the raging civil war in Syria .

RICH HILL D: Andrew Droz Palermo, Tracy Droz Tragos | USA | 2014 | 92 min | International Premiere. In a small rural town, three young residents find themselves dreaming big but living small in this achingly beautiful, Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning depiction of adolescence.

;Ukraine is Not a Brothel, movie poster; SACRO GRA D: Gianfranco Rosi | Italy , France | 2013 | 93 min | Canadian Premiere. Following the stories and endeavours of citizens living and working along the giant ring road that encircles Rome , this Venice Golden Lion winner paints an enchanting portrait of everyday moments in The Eternal City.

THE SHEIK D: Igal Hecht | Canada | 2014 | 95 min | World Premiere. Every hero needs a villain. Without the Iron Sheik there could be no Hulkamania. Khosrow Vaziri’s transformation from Olympic wrestler to American pop culture icon is a personal and emotional tale that will “make you humble.”

UKRAINE IS NOT A BROTHEL D: Kitty Green | Australia , Ukraine | 2013 | 80 min | Canadian Premiere. Ukraine’s gorgeous group of topless feminist activists, FEMEN, take off their shirts to take on their government, exposing gender inequality and government corruption through their provocative public protests.

WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. JAMES J. BULGER D: Joe Berlinger | USA | 2014 | 90 min | Canadian Premiere. Oscar-nominated director Joe Berlinger strips away the myths surrounding infamous Boston gangster and FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger, exposing the truth behind his criminal empire and revealing shocking new allegations of government corruption and complicity.

Hot Docs is North America ’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, and it will present its 21st annual edition from April 24 – May 4, 2014. As always, there is more information online.

Canadian Movie News –

And the Award Goes To…
By staff

;David Cronenberg © 2014 R.A.Lucas;
All the photos used on this page are Copyright © 2014 R.A.Lucas

(March 10, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) The third and final awards night for the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards wrapped last night in an elaborate, star-studded event held at Toronto`s massive Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. For the 2nd annual awards gala the media came out in force and although CBC had the official broadcast rights to the show itself, all other major networks were there, along with hoards of media from radio, print and the Internet.

“Tonight we gather in the company of our country’s brightest and most glamorous talent to celebrate the best in Canadian film and television,” said Martin Katz, Academy Chair, pictured with US actress Maria Bello, who was in attendance to support Denis Villenueve`s film Prisoners. “I am honoured to celebrate and applaud this year’s ;Maria Bello, Martin Katz © 2014 R.A.Lucas;outstanding nominees and winners. Their work brings us together, around screens big and small, enriching our communities through story,” he said.

“At 65 years young, we

Canadian Movie News –

Hot Docs Forum Picks 19
By staff

;Hot Docs Forum Picks 19;
(March 12, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) Hot Docs has announced the 19 projects that will be presented during this year’s Hot Docs Forum. Recognized as North America ’s essential market for the international documentary community, the Hot Docs Forum will take place on the mornings of April 30 and May 1 during the 2014 edition of Hot Docs, which runs from April 24 to May 4. This year’s projects represent 13 different countries and were selected from 128 submissions. Five of the projects are from Canada.

“The projects selected for the 15th edition of our renowned international co-financing event offer an incredible breadth of topics from around the world. We look forward to these stories being presented to key international buyers and attending industry observers at the Hot Docs Forum,” said Hot Docs industry programs director Elizabeth Radshaw

Attended by over 500 leading industry professionals, the Forum is focused around a schedule of pre-selected international project presentations made to a roundtable of key international commissioning editors and an observers gallery composed of fellow producers, distributors, sales agents, funders and other buyers. Participating buyers confirmed to date include ARTE TV, ARTE/ZDF, BBC Storyville, Beijing Keying Media Co Ltd, CBC, CNN, DR Danish Broadcasting Corporation, Java Films, MSNBC, NHK, PBS, RAI 3, SBS Television, SRC, SVT Sveriges Television, TVOntario, YLE, and others.

For the sixth consecutive year, the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize will be awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the event, as determined by a committee of international (non-Canadian) commissioning editors in attendance. The winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize to be used toward the production and completion budget for their project.

The Cuban Hat Award will return to the 2014 Hot Docs Forum, continuing with their “real cash, no strings attached” prize. All the money raised over the two days of the event will be given to the observers’ favourite pitch, as determined by ballot. The Entertainment One Mounties’ Hat Pitch gives Hot Docs Forum observers the chance to secure a last minute presentation slot during the event. A business card will be drawn and the individual will be granted the available 2014 pitch slots.

The following projects will be presented at this year’s Hot Docs Forum:

THE ACCIDENTAL ANARCHIST, Hopscotch Films Ltd, Mentorn (UK)
AMINA – A GAY GIRL IN DAMASCUS, Esperamos, The National Film Board of Canada (Canada)
THE BLIND CINEMA CLUB, Big Red Barn Films, PBS ITVS (Independent Television Service) (USA)
A BLIND EYE, Sole Possession Productions, Big Mouth Productions (USA)
THE BLUE ID, ARTvoltage, MOXIE (Turkey)
A COLD WAR, Sling & Arrow, JOTZ Production Pty Ltd (Australia)
IN THE SHADOW OF THE DREAM, Pumpernickel Films, Ran-Entertainment , Dream Shadow LLC (France, USA)
THE KOREAN DREAM, Morena Films S.L., Halley Productions, Met Film Production, Taskovski Films (Spain, France, UK, Germany)
LET THERE BE LIGHT, EyeSteelFilm (Canada)
LOGS OF WAR, Platypus Productions, Big World Cinema (Kenya, South Africa)
THE PRICE WE PAY, InformAction Films Inc. (Canada)
PUTIN’S NUMBER ONE ENEMY, Double Bounce Films, Roast Beef Productions (UK)
THE SKYJACKER’S TALE, Cave 7 Productions Inc. (Canada)
TEMPEST STORM, Shot Glass Productions (Canada)
TWO MEN, A CAR, AND THE WALL, 212BERLIN FILMS, Alfeneeks Films (Mexico, Palestine)
WRESTLING ALLIGATORS, Wrestling Alligators, Inc. (USA)

Hot Docs is North America ’s largest documentary festival, conference and market. An outstanding selection of approximately 200 documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented this year. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster of conference sessions and market events and services for documentary practitioners, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs Deal Maker and The Doc Shop. In partnership with Blue Ice Group, Hot Docs operates the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, a century-old landmark located in Toronto ’s Annex neighbourhood.

Canadian Movie News –

Blackfish at VIFF on Monday
By Staff

;Blackfish at VIFF on March 17;
(March 14, 2014 – Vancouver, B.C.) Perhaps you remember Tilikum? The killer whale was once a star attraction at Oak Bay, British Columbia’s Sealand of the Pacific park from 1983 to 1992. That`s when he was shipped out to SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. The sale took place shortly after the tragic death of a trainer, Keltie Byrne, who slipped and fell into the pool. Although Tilikum was officially exonerated from the death, eye-witnesses tell a very different story. And as filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite discovered, this was not to be the last human death associated with the bull orca.

In fact there is little doubt that the brutal conditions in which he has spent most of his life in captivity have made him into a lethal threat to those people who love him most – his trainers. Meanwhile SeaWorld insists there is nothing to be concerned about here, and continue to propagate self-serving myths about the orcas even as they endanger the lives of their employees.

In the first of a new series of environmental films copresented with Sea Shepherd, Vancity Theatre is bringing back one of their biggest hits from last year. Blackfish is a powerful exposé of how orcas fare in captivity in aquatic parks. Credited with changing hearts and minds, Blackfish is an unforgettable film. Adding impact to this special screening, former Seaworld trainer, Carol Ray will be in attendance to introduce the film.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Their mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.

More information and advance ticket purchase is available online. Also, don’t miss Hong Kong Spirit Film Week which kicks off at VIFF Vancity today, March 14.

Canadian Movie News –

Patch Town to Open Canadian Film Fest
By Staff

;Patch Town opens Canadian Film Fest;
(March 17, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) The 2014 edition of the Canadian Film Fest kicks off later this week with the twice made Patch Town. What began as a short blossomed into a feature and this year it gets a boost because costar, Zoie Palmer, just picked up a Canadian Screen Award after 20,000 fans across Canada and the globe voted to make her the winner of the Fan Choice Award for Favourite Canadian Screen Star.

The festival, now in its 8th year, only runs for three days starting this Thursday and wrapping on Saturday. In that short time 6 features and 14 shorts are on tap all screening at The Royal on College Street in Toronto.

“From dramas, to documentaries and genre films, this year’s lineup represents the diversity of work coming from the Canadian filmmaking community,” said Bern Euler, Executive Director of the Canadian Film Festival. “It is an honour to present these films for Toronto audiences to enjoy and celebrate all of the talent in our own backyard.”

Here`s a rundown of the features at the 2014 Canadian Film Fest:

PATCH TOWN (Opening Night Film). Director: Craig Goodwill Cast: Zoie Palmer, Julian Richings, Rob Ramsay, Scott Thompson. Inspired by his award-winning short film of the same name, Craig Goodwill’s feature debut is a surreal, one-of-a-kind vision of faux Russian folklore laid over a sharp satire of contemporary consumer culture. Jon is just ;Patch Town, 2013 movie poster;another mindless laborer on an assembly line, but at no ordinary factory. Day after day he and his fellow drones harvest kids from cabbages – kids that will go on to become the beloved toys of little boys and girls in the land outside this dreadful factory. But when Jon discovers an awful secret that he and all the indentured workers are actually grown-up and discarded toys, he’ll have to take on a villainous corporation to reunite with his long-lost mother, protect his newfound family, and finally find freedom.

THE BIRDER Director: Ted Bezaire Cast: Tom Cavanagh, Mark Rendall, Jamie Spilchuk, Cassidy Renee, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Allana Harkin, Scott Cavalheiro, Jim Annan, Graham Greene and Fred Willard. Ron Spencer, a mild-mannered high-school teacher and devoted bird watcher is thrown into a tailspin of despair after his long sought after position as “Head of Ornithology” at the local Birding Park is given to the young and flashy Floyd Hawkins.

THE PRIVILEGED Director: Leah Walker Cast: Sam Trammell, Joshua Close, Laura Harris, Lina Roessler. Richard Hunter, a promising young lawyer at a prestigious firm, has the perfect future mapped out. However, a costly mistake with a powerful client has put it all at risk. In a desperate attempt to save his job, Richard and his wife Tara spend the weekend at the cottage of senior partner Preston Westwood. The young couple is quickly seduced by their charismatic hosts’ lavish lifestyle but it is clear that something ominous lies just below the surface. After a devastating act of violence reveals that they have become pawns in a blood feud between the Westwoods and a local family, Richard and Tara must decide what they are willing to sacrifice for success: their morals, their marriage, or their lives.

PLAY THE FILM Director: Alec Toller Cast: Kristian Bruun, Kelly McCormack, Danny Pagett, Colin Munch, Tim Walker, Caitlin Driscoll, Gwen Cumyn, Roger Bainbridge, Peter Higginson, Robb Wiggin, Conor Bradbury, Claire Armstrong, Bryony Byrne, Suzette McCanny. When the opening night of a new play goes horribly awry, the actors are forced to frantically improvise the plot onstage. Clashing egos, tested friendships and a series of disastrous misunderstandings combine to create the most offensive, shocking and accidental piece of theater ever to debut in front of a live audience.

H & G Director: Danishka Esterhazy Cast: Breazy Diduck-Wilson, Annika Elyse Irving. A modern retelling of The Brothers Grimm fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, H & G follows a girl and a boy living in poverty and neglect. After finding themselves lost in the woods, they see a house that appears to be magical and rush toward it. But in this house, danger lurks and all they have is each other.

AFTERPARTY (Closing Night Film) Director: Michelle Ouellet Cast: Graham Coffeng, Ali Liebert, Nicholas Carella, David Milchard, Jodi Blafour, Christina Sicoli, Emma Lahana, Peter Benson, Erica Carroll. On the night of his brother’s wedding, best man Charlie gets the old gang back together for a fun-filled, post-reception after party at the newlyweds’ home where he has been staying for several weeks. Unsure of how to proceed with his own troubled marriage, Charlie reunites “the fellas” fifteen years after high school in hopes that revisiting the past will help him find clarity about his plans for the future. What Charlie finds, however, is that while his friends have all taken different paths, they are all faced with similar conundrums that come with being in their thirties.

There`s an impressive list of short films and more information available online at the Canadian Film Fest website. Click here for a link to that an other March 2014 film festivals.

Canadian Movie News –

Hot Docs Announces 2014 Line Up
By Staff

;Hot Docs Announces 2014 Line Up;
(March 18, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) Filmmakers and media began to gather early at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto this morning eager to hear what the 2014 festival holds in store. Things kicked off right on schedule and after the usual opening niceties, Hot Docs Director of Programming, Charlotte Cook, was behind the podium to talk about a few of the 197 films that have been selected from the 2,435 submissions received in this year`s call for entry. Sticking with stats, the films come from 43 countries and will screen in a total of 12 different programs.

“We are so proud to be showing these incredible films and combining them with amazing live events and experiences.” said Cook. “We truly hope it will be a festival of ideas, discussion and amazement and we’re looking forward to bringing the best filmmaking in the world to the world’s greatest audience.”

In addition to the opening night international premiere of Brian Knappenberger’s The Internet`s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, which is an inspiring and emotional portrait of a young;Charloote Cook, Hot Docs © 2014 Northernstars.ca; Internet visionary, other notable films in the Special Presentations program include: Pavel Loparev and Askold Kurov’s Children 404, a firsthand account of LGBT youth in Russia; Anthony Baxter’s A Dangerous Game, an explosive tale of everyday heroes battling against Donald Trump’s development plans; Chad Walker and Dave LaMattina’s I am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story, a big-hearted tale of the man behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch; Jesse Moss’ The Overnighters, depicting a local pastor risking everything to welcome the desperate men migrating to a small North Dakota community; Cynthia Hill’s Private Violence, a beautifully crafted story exploring the fact that the most dangerous place for a woman is her home; Igal Hecht’s The Sheik, a personal and emotional tale of Olympic wrestler and pop culture icon the Iron Sheik (pictured); and Joe Berlinger’s Whitey: UNited States of America vs James J. Bulger, which strips away the myths surrounding infamous Boston gangster and FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger.

Because our focus at Northernstars is on Canadian films and filmmakers, we can tell you that this year`s offering cane be described by the single word, stellar. In the competitive Canadian Spectrum program, notable films include: Thomas Wallner’s Before the Last Curtain Falls, a stunning portrayal of the tumultuous off-stage lives of six aging Belgian transvestites and transsexual performers; Vic Sarin’s The Boy from Geita, the story of a young Tanzanian boy with albinism surviving a brutal attack and given hope with the promise of surgery in Canada; Ray Klonsky and Marc Lamy’s David & Me, following a tenacious filmmaker’s quest to prove a man’s innocence 28 years after his incarceration; Julia Kwan’s Everything Will Be, a heartwarming and cinematically stunning ode to a Vancouver community in transition; Tony Girardin’s Marinoni, the story of Canada’s most revered bicycle craftsman attempting a world cycling record at 75 years old; John Kastner’s Out of Mind, Out of Sight, which follows the filmmaker’s return to the Brockville Mental Health Centre to capture patients struggling for control of their lives; and Amar Wala’s The Secret Trial 5, the shocking story of five Muslim men imprisoned without charge under Canada’s controversial security certificates policy.

The films by Kwan and Kastner are just two of seven National Film Board documentaries that will screen at this year`s festival. A third is the film Jutra. With an ingenious assembly of archival footage and animated sequences, director Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre creates a clever and astute cinephile portrait of Claude Jutra, the director of Mon oncle Antoine.

Bound to be one of the more popular screenings is the Canadian film Super Duper Alice Cooper. Directors Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn (pictured below) will not only be at the festival, but joining them onstage will be the subject of their documentary, the legendary rocker Alice Cooper. But the big news about the film was unveiled;Reg Harkema at Hot Docs © 2014 by R.A.Lucas; by Hot Docs Executive Director, Brett Hendrie who caused attendees to erupt in applause when he announced that the film`s Canadian premiere and a post-screening Q&A will be simulcast to 47 theatres across Canada as part of Cineplex Entertainment’s Front Row Centre Events. “If I said we had a secret plan to bring Alice Cooper, three great Canadian filmmakers, and the Hot Docs Festival into communities coast-to-coast, I’d be lying,” said Hendrie, “But, happily these pieces came together and now national audiences from Saint John to Victoria will be able to attend Hot Docs.”

Super Duper Alice Cooper is the story of Vincent Furnier, preacher’s son, who struck fear into the hearts of parents as Alice Cooper, the ultimate rock star of the bizarre. The film is the first ever “doc opera”—a dizzying blend of documentary archive footage, animation and rock opera—and features exclusive interviews with members of the original Alice Cooper Group, Elton John, Iggy Pop, John Lydon, Dee Snider and of course, Alice himself. This special screening will take place on Monday, April 28, at 9:00 pm at Toronto`s downtown Scotiabank Theatre.

The Redux program at this year`s Hot Docs will highlight five films that deserve another outing on the big screen. Additionally, Hot Docs will present two retrospective programs: Focus On John Zaritsky, a mid-career retrospective of the filmmaker’s work; and the Outstanding Achievement Award Retrospective, honouring the influential work of English documentary filmmaker and journalist Adam Curtis. Also a premier documentary conference and market, Hot Docs will be welcoming over 2,000 industry delegates who will partake in a wide array of industry events and services, including conferences sessions, receptions and parties, Hot Docs Deal Maker, The Doc Shop and the Hot Docs Forum, April 30 and May 1.

The festival itself opens on April 24 and runs until May 4 and there is more information online.

Canadian Movie News –

CSAs Hand Out 47 Awards on Night 1 of 3
By staff

;Canadian Screen Awards 2014 © R.A.Lucas;
Images copyright © 2014 R.A.Lucas

(March 5, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) The Canadian Screen Awards got off to a great start last night at downtown Toronto`s Sheraton Hotel. Despite some last minute chaos, which is normal for such high pressure events, the first of three awards ceremonies came off without a hitch. Hosted by comedian Steve Patterson, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, which presents the awards, handed out a total of 47 coveted trophies in the categories of News & Sports, Documentary, Lifestyle, Reality and Digital Media’

“Since industry awards were initiated in this country 65 years ago, we have celebrated together,

Jocelyn Cornforth Moves Up at Vérité

Jocelyn Cornforth Moves Up at Vérité, image,

Jocelyn Cornforth Moves Up at Vérité
By staff

(March 5, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) Vérité Films has named screenwriter, story editor and series creator Jocelyn Cornforth to the position of Head of Development, Drama and Scripted Television. Before working in television, Jocelyn earned a B.A. in English with distinction from Queen’s University and a law degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax. Recruited out of law school by one of the top law firms in Canada, she practiced law on Bay Street for several years before leaving to pursue a career in the arts.

“Jocelyn’s focus will be developing our biggest scripted television slate to date,” said Virginia Thompson, President of Vérité Films.

As a screenwriter and story editor, Jocelyn has worked on such successfully and critically acclaimed Canadian television dramas as Regenesis, The Listener, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures and Across the River to Motor City, for which she was nominated for a Gemini award for Best Writing in a Dramatic Television Program or Mini-Series. A graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Primetime Television Writing Program, her writing career has taken her to London, England, where she worked for several years with renowned British Television writer Lynda LaPlante, the creator and writer of the acclaimed dramatic series Prime Suspect, staring Helen Mirren.

“It’s great to have a writer and a story editor of Jocelyn’s caliber on our team,” said Robert de Lint, Executive VP & Creative Head. “There’s no doubt Jocelyn will maximize the ideas we’re developing in-house and be a terrific support to projects brought to us by the independent writing community.”

In addition to those credits mentioned above, Cornforth developed and wrote the MOW Presumed Guilty (CTV); and created, developed and wrote the pilots for The Men (CBC-TV), Crime Stories (W Network) and Liberty (Global Television). Her UK television credits include: The Commander and two seasons of Trial and Retribution for Lynda LaPlante and ITV Network.

Founded by Producer Virginia Thompson and Producer/Director/Writer Robert de Lint, Vérité Films is a project-driven company that creates television series, films and interactive entertainment.

Canadian Movie News –

CSAs Hand Out 43 Awards on Night 2 of 3
By staff

;Canadian Screen Awards 2014 © R.A.Lucas;
(March 6, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) It was Take 2 at the 2nd annual Canadian Screen Awards last night at Toronto`s Sheraton Hotel. Hosted for the second night in a row by comedian Steve Patterson, 43 awards were presented in the Drama, Children

Canadian Movie News –

ACTRA Names Jean Freeman Woman of the Year
By staff

;Jean Freeman;
(March 6, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) ACTRA, which represents the interests of 22,000 members across Canada, has turned the spotlight on Jean Freeman, naming the Saskatchewan-born actor 2014`s Woman of the Year. Each year ACTRA’s Women’s Committee bestows this honour on a woman who has shone both in her artistic and advocacy achievements. “After 47 gratifying and rewarding years as a member of ACTRA, this honour is definitely the high point of all we’ve been through together,” said Freeman, pictured above as the Mayor’s grandmother on the hit CTV series Corner Gas. “As my friends in Dog River might say, ‘It’s like lightning in a bottle – or maybe a jam jar!’”

Freeman was the first actor to join the Saskatchewan branch of ACTRA in 1967 and has been named a Life Member of the union, as well as the Canadian Public Relations Society, the Regina Women’s Network and Regina Little Theatre.

She was one of the first employees of Regina`s CKCK-TV and later became a CBC Radio on-air personality on Matinee Comment in Winnipeg and Regina. She has received numerous honours, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Mayor’s Arts & Business Awards, Woman of Distinction from the Regina YWCA and Trimark Canadian Women`s Mentor Arts and Culture Award. Jean co-authored Fists Upon a Star: A Memoir of Love, Theatre and Escape From McCarthyism, with the late theatre pioneer Florence Bean James, which was short-listed for a 2014 Saskatchewan Book Award. Most recently, her children’s book Terror on Turtle Creek has also been short-listed.

“Jean Freeman is not only an accomplished actor, she is a writer, a communicator and a pioneer in the Saskatchewan film and television industry,” said Ferne Downey, ACTRA National President. “When trouble came to Saskatchewan with the provincial government dismantling the film and television tax credit incentives, Jean fought back. We applaud Jean for the vision and strength she has provided to her union and the province’s whole entertainment industry.”

The mandate of the ACTRA National Women’s Committee includes exploring the concerns of female ACTRA members and supporting women within ACTRA and in the audiovisual industry as a whole. Heather Allin chairs the Committee. Jean Freeman is the fifth woman to be chosen “ACTRA Woman of the Year” for her artistic and advocacy achievements and joins past recipients Shirley Douglas, Tantoo Cardinal, Sandi Ross and Mary Walsh.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national union of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada.

Canadian Movie News –

David Cronenberg Honoured at Canadian Screen Awards
By staff

;David Cronenberg © 2014 R.A.Lucas;
All the photos used on this page are Copyright © R.A.Lucas

(March 10, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) Some might say it was a long time coming. David Cronenberg himself, however, seemed almost uncomfortable; a reluctant hero in a carefully orchestrated pageant designed to honour one of Canada`s most successful and productive directors. That was the scene last night both on stage and later in the media room in behind-the-scenes comments the renowned director made about his Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards.

The awards show itself had started off in regular fashion, but as it approached the midway point the scene and energy shifted. From the upbeat celebration of this year`s winners, a slightly more poised and deliberate scene unfolded. It began with a wonderfully edited montage of some of David Cronenberg`s work over the past few decades. ;Viggo Mortensen, David Cronenberg © 2013 R.A.Lucas;Some of the clips that were used, he later admitted, were not in the original films as they dated back to the days of the Ontario Censor Board. In their tribute to Cronenberg, actors Jay Baruchel and Viggo Mortensen spoke frankly about the director`s place in the business.

“Mainstream movie business people, much as they might praise him time to time, seem very reluctant to reward him officially. I can understand that because David basically is not one of them. And I think they know it — a fact that probably makes them even more uncomfortable than his movies do,” said Mortensen, who has starred in three of Cronenberg`s films A History of Violence, Eastern Promises and A Dangerous Method. “I think we’re definitely doing the right thing here tonight,” he continued, saying of Cronenberg that he is “the finest director and the sanest man I know for the artistic excellence and the singular courage of his work.”

Cronenberg significantly altered the tone of the tribute by telling a joke. “A man visits his doctor. He says ‘Doctor. I can’t pee.’ The doctor says ‘How old are you?’ He says ‘I’m 93.’ The doctor says ‘You’ve peed enough.’ When I was asked if I would accept this lovely award, it did occur to me the Academy was sending a message that went: David, you’ve peed enough.” Fortunately for us he graciously accept the special tribute. “Somehow I found a way to say yes,” he said. “I can accept this fantastic and very sweet award that has been given to me by my colleagues with, I know, an incredible sweetness and affection — which makes it, you know, just a beautiful thing.”

Back in the media room, Northernstars.ca Publisher, Ralph Lucas asked the director about the changes he has seen in the Canadian film industry since he first started making his films. Cronenberg responded in part by praising Telefilm Canada and the Canada Council for making his first films possible. “Without their support, I would not have been able to make my movies in Canada.”

Cronenberg`s award was one of three that had been previously announced. Don Carmody (pictured above) was on hand to pick up his 8th Golden Reel Award, which is given to the film that enjoyed the highest box office take during the previous year. And Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais was given the Claude Jutra Award for Best First Feature Film, Whitewash, which was produced by Luc Déry and Kim McCraw.

Click here for a complete list of winners from last night`s Canadian Screen Awards.

Canadian Movie News –

Steve James to Launch DOC Masters Series
By staff

;Steve James;
(February 27, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) One of the most acclaimed documentary filmmakers, Steve James, will be in Toronto next month as a special guest of the DOC Institute to screen his latest film and to hold a Master Class as part of the organization`s 2014 Masters Series.

Steve James launched his career in 1994 with the Oscar nominated documentary Hoop Dreams. He has since released a series of noted works including Stevie; the acclaimed miniseries The New Americans; Tribeca Grand Prize winner The War Tapes; and The Interrupters, which won a duPont Journalism Award. James’ most recent documentary Life Itself, premiered to great acclaim at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Attendees of the Steve James Masters Series will attend a two hour Masters Series Class on Saturday, March 22 followed by a reception and special private screening of the yet to be released Life Itself, about the late film critic ;Life Itself, movie poster;Roger Ebert. James will also offer a full day Masters Series Lab on Sunday, March 23 to a select group of attendees. During the Masters Series Class, James will discuss his approach to the craft of storytelling, from the decisions driving the aesthetics to the role of the filmmaker in story. James will also share his insight on the subject of access in documentary film, a theme that runs strongly throughout all of his film credits.

The Masters Series Class will be hosted by DOC Toronto Board Member Sean Farnel, a film curation strategist and former programmer at TIFF and Hot Docs. The DOC Institute is pleased to welcome international crowdfunding site Indiegogo as Presenting Sponsor of the Steve James Masters Series. James raised completion funding for Life Itself using an Indiegogo campaign; donors were then provided with access to a live stream of the film’s Sundance world premiere.

Now in its sixth year, the Masters Series invites celebrated documentary filmmakers and acclaimed professionals including editors, cinematographers and sound designers to share their in-the-field experiences and expertise with members of Toronto`s professional documentary filmmaking community. The Masters Series attracts over 350 participants each year from recent film school graduates to seasoned veterans.

The Steve James Masters Series Presenting Sponsor is Indiegogo and Community Sponsors are Kartemquin Films, Markham Street Films, Mercury Films, Primitive Entertainment and White Pine Pictures. The Venue Sponsor is Corus Entertainment. The Masters Series is supported by the Toronto Arts Council and ArtsVest – Toronto’s Business for the Arts matching funds program. For more information and to register visit the DOC Institute online.

Canadian Movie News –

Meet The Stars of the Canadian Screen Awards
By staff

;Canadian Screen Awards Fanzone 2014;
(February 27, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) The Canadian Screen Awards will roll out the red carpet on Saturday, March 8 at FanZone, where film fans will be able to take photos with some of Canada’s biggest stars.

“Fans are the heart of a Canadian star system so it is vital they are an integral part of the Canadian Screen Awards,” said Helga Stephenson, Academy CEO. “This year, fans will have the opportunity to meet an outstanding line-up of their favourite Canadian stars at FanZone at the Toronto Eaton Centre,” she added.

Hosted by SPACE’s Teddy Wilson, FanZone will give fans the opportunity to meet and take photos with the biggest names in Canadian television. Personalities from shows on CBC, City, CTV, Global, OLN, SPACE, YTV and more will be in attendance. Please keep in mind this is strictly a photo event and autographs will not be given. Following is a list of the stars you could meet:

PETER BROWN, Big Brother Canada
MUNRO CHAMBERS, Degrassi: The Next Generation
RICK COFFILL, Storage Wars Canada
MARK CRITCH, This Hour Has 22 Minutes
DAVE FOLEY, Spun Out, Kids in the Hall
CINDY HAYDEN, Storage Wars Canada
HÉLÈNE JOY, Murdoch Mysteries
GARY LEVY, Big Brother Canada
JON MONTGOMERY, The Amazing Race Canada

The event, which is free to attend, will take place from 11 am to 1 pm at the Toronto Eaton Centre (2nd level by Albert’s Way). There is more information about the Fanzone online.

Meanwhile, fans can also participate in the Academy’s #FanZone Front of the Line Contest. To enter, fans tweet a selfie photo and tag it #CdnScreenSelfie #FanZone for a chance to win VIP Access to the FanZone event and a prize pack.

The Academy’s #FanZone Front of the Line Contest opened yesterday and runs until Thursday, March 6 with the winner being announced on Friday, March 7. For rules and regulations please visit the Academy online.

Canadian Movie News –

ACTRA Toronto Announces Awards
By staff

;ACTRA Toronto Award;
(February 24, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) It was a bit of a posh evening Saturday night at the tony Carlu in downtown Toronto when members of Canada`s largest branch of ACTRA gathered to recognized their own. It was the 12th annual Toronto ACTRA Awards, which included a small handful of categories and a couple of special awards.

In the special awards area, two of the country`s most distinguished actors took the stage when Eric Peterson clearly enjoyed presenting the 2014 Award of Excellence to R.H. Thomson. In a career that began more than 35 years ago, Thomson has earned awards, recognition and the respect of his peers. The ACTRA Toronto Award of Excellence joins Genie Awards and nominations for his film work and a Dora and Gascon-Thomas Award for his work on stage. Thomson has also been a member of the Order of Canada since 2010.

The ACTRA Toronto Stunt Award, which honours those who do the dangerous bits in place of the stars, went to Marco Bianco. A little shy of 200 credits, in 2013 Bianco worked as a stunt rigger or stunt coordinator or stunt double or stunt driver on Star Trek Into Darkness, Skating to New York, and Pompeii, plus many episodes of Republic of Doyle and Saving Hope.

The three main categories are for Outstanding Performance for voice work, and for a male and female actor.

Actors Michael D. Cohen, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, Rick Roberts, David Sutcliffe and Hugh Thompson were in the running this year. In an odd twist, Rick Roberts (pictured) got the nod for his superb portrayal or NDP Leader Jack Layton in the made-for-television feature, Jack. But Roberts wasn’t at the awards ceremony. He was on stage in ;Rick Roberts as Jack Layton;Victoria, British Columbia playing another political leader, Stephen Harper, in Michael Healey`s new play Proud. Roberts, by the way, is nominated for the same role at the Canadian Screen Awards, which Northernstars.ca will cover in early March.

Actresses Amanda Brugel, Tatiana Maslany, Jennifer Podemski, Meg Tilly and Helen Shaver, who is celebrating a birthday today were nominated back in January. Amanda Brugel was honoured this year for her work in the film, Sex After Kids.

Finally, Terry McGurrin was given the Outstanding Performance: Voice for his work on an episode of Scaredy Squirrel titled The Trophy Catastrophe. There has been some discussion by various members of Toronto ACTRA that there should be a category recognizing narration. Maybe next year.

“Each year our awards get bigger and better,” said David Sparrow, ACTRA Toronto President. “What a great group of outstanding nominees and winners. My hat`s off to all of them. Terry McGurrin – a classic cartoon voice, Amanda Brugel a fantastic comedic actor, and Rick Roberts, well, at the rate he`s going, I’m expecting him to morph into R.H. Thomson at any moment. And the spectacular stunts of Marco Bianco…I’m so proud of each and every one of them.”

ACTRA Toronto represents more than 15,000 of Canada’s 22,000 professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. .

Canadian Movie News –

Imagine a World Without Allergies.
By staff

;ACTRA Toronto Award;
Photos courtesy: John Collins / Dreamfilm Productions

(February 24, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) More than a third of North American children are allergic to something, be it food, animals, or plants. Food allergies in North America have more than tripled in the last twenty years. In searching for a fix, scientists are up-ending the conventional wisdom about what causes allergies and how to deal with them. From deliberately giving peanuts to babies… to absorbing parasitic worms through the skin… to investigating the lifestyle of Amish farm families, doctors are attacking food allergies in new and inventive ways and this Thursday CBC`s The Nature of Things with David Suzuki reports on new theories, experiments and progress.

If you’ve been to a children’s birthday party lately, chances are at least one of the little guests had an Epi-Pen. It’s standard equipment for a growing generation of highly allergic North American kids. Something puzzling, and frightening, is going on with our immune systems.

The Allergy Fix traveled across Canada as well as visiting the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany to investigate why allergies are on the rise – and what’s being done about it.

Clues to the increase may be found on farms. When the Berlin Wall came down, German scientists were shocked to find that people in heavily industrialized, polluted Eastern Germany had fewer allergies than in cleaner, sanitized Western Germany. A theory known as “the hygiene hypothesis” suggests that exposure to certain germs actually protects our system and lowers our allergy risk. So what can science and medicine do to reverse the trend? Allergists are attempting to ‘desensitize’ kids to allergenic foods like peanuts and milk by starting allergic kids off with tiny doses of the offending food, and gradually increasing them until the immune system is trained to accept it, or at least make exposure to small amounts of those foods less dangerous. These procedures can be scary stuff for parents and children who know their allergies may cause severe, even life-threatening, reactions. Some scientists are going even further and deliberately experimenting with giving themselves parasitic worms, since studies have shown that people who have worms also have ;The Alergy Fix on CBC;fewer allergies. Like the “good” bacteria in our gut, this approach is part of what has been coined “the old friends hypothesis”..

The Allergy Fix includes exclusive and rare access to an Amish farming community in Indiana who have only half the allergy rate of other farm families, perhaps because their lives are a snapshot of the past: a lifestyle that was prevalent two hundred years ago. Since discovering the germ theory of disease, we have cleaned up our world. We’ve sanitized our urban environment and mostly defeated bacteria with antibiotics. But at what cost? The antibiotics may be killing off microbes in our gut that work symbiotically with our immune system.

Produced by Vancouver-based Dreamfilm Productions and narrated by David Suzuki, The Allergy Fix is directed by Bruce Mohun, produced by Sue Ridout, and written by Bruce Mohun & Helen Slinger. Mohun is a Vancouver-based science journalist and television director who has produced, directed, hosted and written hundreds of hours of TV, including Hiding From the Wind; Deciphering Dyslexia; and The Leading Edge. His most recent documentaries for CBC-TV’s The Nature of Things (The Downside of High; Programmed to be Fat) have won both the Gold and Silver World Medals at the New York Festivals. His project on global warming, Global Warning: Canada’s Changing Climate, was screened at the New York Film Festival, and the Image and Science Film Festival in Paris. He has been honoured with both the Science Council of British Columbia`s Eve Savory Award for Science Communication, and the Canadian Federation of Biological Societies’ J. Gordin Kaplan Award for Science Communication.

The Allergy Fix airs on CBC-TV`s The Nature of Thingsthis Thursday, February 27 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time Zone (7:30 p.m. NT). It will be given encore broadcasts on CBC News Network, Saturday, March 1 at 7 p.m. and on CBC-TV on Sunday, March 2 at 2 pm and on Monday, March 3 at 11 a.m.